Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Book Review: Start Where You Are Week-at-a-Glance Diary

This Week-at-a-glance diary by Meera Lee Patel is quite pretty. Small in size, with vibrant colors and a foiled cover, it has pages dedicated to making notes from the week, to write down your goals for each month, a section for birthdays and contacts, and even world time zones, international calling codes, conversion table, phonetic alphabet, roman numerals, etc. Each month begins with a brush lettered inspiring quote. The size is perfect to fit in a purse. Will make a nice gift for someone going back to school.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Video Tutorial: How to Create an Art Journal Page from Coloring Book


Here's a tutorial to show you how to use a coloring book page in an art journal.

The coloring page I used is from "At the Beach”, a printable coloring book of fond beach memories It is a fun collection of 30 hand-drawn images that bring back memories of that carefree sun-soothed, surf-soaked beach vacation. It includes a bonus section of inspiration to help you bring the black-and-white pen drawings to life in full color!

You can buy the book here.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Home Decor/ Gift Tutorial: Muscle Man Clipboard

Here's a fun and different type of home decor/gift project tutorial for a boy who wants to be strong! Gather the following Fun Stampers Journey supplies and follow along.

Muscle Man Bundle
Cardstock: Butter Cream, Denim Days, Rich Coral, Rock Candy, Summer Days
True Color Fusion Inkpads:Berry Black, Lemon Grass, Oatmeal Cookie
Journey Days Easel
Amaze machine 
Detail Pro Shears
Easy Glide Permanent Adhesive Runner
Journey Foam Squares Small

  • Stamp the parts of the muscle man on Butter Cream Cardstock using Berry Black True Color Fusion Ink.
  • Stamp the clothed body parts on Rich Coral cardstock. 
  • Stamp the accessories with Oatmeal Cookie True Color Fusion Ink.
  • Diecut the stamped images.
  • Use scissors to cut out the clothing parts.
  • Assemble the parts of the muscle man.

  • Attach the accessories of the muscle man as shown.

  • Stamp 'Muscle man' with Lemon Grass ink on Butter Cream cardstock. Cut into block with scissors. Mount block onto River Stone cardstock. Cut into block leaving a slight border all around. Attach the whole thing to Summer Days cardstock block.
  • Mount the assembled muscle man on the block you created in the previous step.
  • Attach the piece with foam squares to a 5" x 7" piece of Denim Days cardstock.  
  • Attach the above piece onto a 9" x 7" River Stone cardstock.
  • Clip it onto the Easel to finish.
Display in the room of your favorite boy or give as gift. 

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and try out this super fun stamp/die set from Fun Stampers Journey!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Book Review: The Only Negotiating Guide

I'm a big fan of win-win outcomes where no one walks away empty-handed and resentful from a negotiation - where important relationships remain viable and are not sacrificed in the zeal of winning. I picked The Only Negotiating Guide You'll Ever Need by Peter B. Stark and Jane Flaherty out of curiosity and here are a few things I learned or had reconfirmed.
For win-win outcomes, it's important to avoid narrowing the negotiation down to just one issue. It's better to keep your mind open to related options. 
Your win does not have to be the other person's loss because you might not have the same wants and needs. 
Better ask than assume what your counterpart wants. Also try understanding the needs that are not being openly expressed. So, listen well and pay attention to nonverbal expressions.

There are 13 chapters each focusing on a specific aspect of negotiation making reference quick and easy. Definitely a book worth going back to for anyone who wants to negotiate better and fair.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

How to color a beach bag

Let's color a beach bag today!

Pick a few bright summer-y colors and go for it. Watch the video for inspiration.

And if you want to color one yourself, you can find this image and 29 more in my newest coloring book  At the Beach.

Have fun coloring!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

New Coloring Book: At the Beach

When we lived in Florida, I didn't think I could miss summer... ever! But when we moved north, I found cold weather for most of the year. Even though we have pretty beaches here too, the drive is longer and the water much colder. All of a sudden summer days and our trips to the beaches became a lot more precious to me. 

As I washed sand off the beach toys, I felt that soon this summer too will be a thing of the past and we can only hold on to its memories. And I wanted to re-live these moments and cherish the fond memories we made. To do so, I compiled my drawings inspired by our beach vacations - things we saw, things we shopped for, things we did, and created a coloring book named At the Beach
At the Beach is a printable coloring book of fond beach memories. It includes a fun collection of 30 hand-drawn images that bring back memories of carefree sun-soothed, surf-soaked beach vacations. Plus, there's a bonus section of inspiration to help you bring the black-and-white pen drawings to life in full color!

In this coloring book, you'll find cute flip flops, stylish swimsuits, the dyed woven straw beach bag with raffia fringes which we ended up not buying as it wasn't big enough, the rose colored sun glasses I bought at St. Maarten and many more. At the Beach will surely help you re-live YOUR beach vacations and enjoy the special summer memories a while longer.

I’ll email you the printable PDF within 24 hours of purchase. No shipping fee, no waiting for the mail to step into coloring bliss!

Monday, August 07, 2017

Card Tutorial: A Bow tie for the Gentleman

Cards for the guys don't have to be hard if you got the right stuff. Hi everyone! In today's tutorial, I'll show you how just one piece of patterned paper and a stamp set can making a card for a gentleman quick and easy!

Let's start by looking at the supplies.
You'll need - 
RG Days Stamp/Die set - The Details 
RG Days Printed Paper
Denim Days True Color Fusion Ink Pad  
Berry Black True Color Fusion ink
Cool Pool 12 x12 Cardstock
Dark Roast 12 x12 Cardstock 
River Stone 12 x12 Cardstock
Summer Days 12x12 Cardstock
Whip Cream 12x12 Cardstock
Easy Glide Permanent Adhesive Runner
Journey Foam Squares - Small
Amaze machine 

Trim Whip Cream cardstock to 8.5" x 5.5". Fold in half to make 4.25" x 5.5" card.
Trim bow tie patterned paper to 4" x 5.25". Attach to the card.
Stamp the polka dot bow tie on Cool Pool cardstock with Denim Days ink pad.
Die cut the bow tie using the Amaze machine.
Attach the bow tie die-cut to the card with Journey Foam Squares.

Stamp the sentiment 'Complete Gentleman' on Summer Days cardstock with Berry Black ink pad. Cut it into a block. Mat the sentiment block with Dark Roast cardstock.
Cut a 4" x 1.25" strip of River Stone cardstock. Attach it to the card.
Mount the sentiment block to the strip to finish.

Hope you enjoyed today's tutorial and will give this cute stamp/die set a try!

Friday, August 04, 2017

A DIY Easel Frame

Make the most of your favorite vacation photos with this easel frame using the Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 16PK - Chalkboard Easel Card.
You'll find the tutorial right here. And there's a great sale going on right now. Just use the coupon code Back2School for 30% discount and free shipping on $99 or more.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Book Review: Thank You for Arguing

Arguments often have a negative connotation. But what if that negativity could be diffused and we could argue without it turning into a fight or a blame game? Thank You for Arguing by Jay Heinrichs explains how to persuade others to see your point of view and even switch to your side without aggression. With use of humor and anecdotes, the author explains how rhetoric should be one of the essential R's and calls it 'the art of influence, friendship and eloquence, of ready wit and irrefutable logic.' Throughout history, great leaders have used rhetoric to inspire and move audiences into action. This book will teach you those secrets of the art of persuasion. If language is your area of interest, you'll love this book. It might even help you win some arguments!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mixed Media Tutorial: Greeting Plaque

How would you like to create a welcome plaque for your home using Tim Holtz Sizzix dies and your mixed media stash? Pull out your Gelatos, gel medium, washi tapes, and some scrap papers and I will show you how! 

Here's a complete supply list for you to get started: 
Other Materials:
  • Gelatos colors of your choice
  • Gel Medium
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Scrap papers
  • Stamping Ink
  • Washi tapes
  • Watercolor paper
  • Wood plaque

Start by stamping the Flower Jar and floral stems on watercolor paper. Cut the individual images into blocks using scissors.

To diecut the stamped images, create the following Sizzix Sandwich -  on a Sizzix Accessory Magnetic Platform For Wafer-Thin Dies, lay another Sizzix Accessory - Cutting Pads, Standard, 1 Pair (Purple w/Silver Glitter). On it, lay out the Flower Jar and floral stem stamped images and place the corresponding Sizzix Framelits Die Set 16PK - Flower Jar dies framing the images, blade side down. Cover with the other Standard Cutting Pad. Pass the whole Sizzix Sandwich through the Sizzix Big Shot machine.

Here are the diecut floral arrangement pieces.

Repeat the exact same sandwich as above to get the largest circle using the Sizzix Framelits Die Set 6PK - Stitched Circles, 
the tile pattern from the Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 3PK - Mixed Media #4 , and the greeting 'Hello' (you'll need to die-cut two 'L's) using the Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 121PK - Alphanumeric, Thin (3/8" Tall).

Place the diecut stitched circle on the wood plaque and lightly mark the area with pencil. Attach bits of washi tapes, scrap papers and the die-cut tile pattern from the Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 3PK - Mixed Media #4 using gel medium. Seal the pieces in place with a top coat of gel medium.

Add a first coat of color to the plaque with Gelatos or your favorite paint medium. Set aside to dry.

Color the diecut stamped images with Gelatos. Let dry.

Arrange the Flower Jar and the floral stems on the stitched circle and attach to the plaque with gel medium.

Add the greeting to the plaque with the 'Hello' diecut from the Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 3PK - Mixed Media #4 to finish. 

I hope you enjoyed today's tutorial and have fun with these dies! And don't miss out on the HUGE SALE going on at Sizzix right now!

Note: I am a project designer for Sizzix. Sizzix provided me with the above dies to create the above project. If you click the links to buy these dies, I will earn an itsy bitsy portion of the sale. Use the code SZB2015 at checkout. You get 15% off and I get an itsy bitsy portion of the sale. It's win-win!   

Monday, July 24, 2017

Book review: Manga Art

The first book by Mark Crilley I read was The Drawing Lesson. I enjoyed the creative approach to his teaching. When I came across his Manga Art: Inspiration and Techniques from an Expert Illustrator, I knew I had to read it. And I have to say, this book encompasses much more than lessons in Manga drawing - you get a peek into the artist's thoughts behind the drawings and that is invaluable!

The book is divided into five chapters - Characters, Japan, Science Fiction, Conceptual Art and Styleplay. Before diving into the details of techniques, the author says something that really rang true with me.

"If by chance these pictures inspire you to pick up a pencil and start creating manga characters of your own, by all means go for it. You will find yourself on a path that I and so many others have followed for years, one that is rich in both challenges and rewards. Keep at it long enough and you'll be the one putting your spin on the manga style, expanding the tradition, and deepening it in a way that only you can."
I think this keeping up your practice till you find your unique spin holds for any style of art making. 

My favorite picture from the book is on p. 67 - Next to the Window, Second Seat from the Back of the Classroom. Such beautiful coloring to make the play of light come alive in a dreamy way!

A wonderful book for not only manga artists but for anyone who enjoys drawing!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. 

Friday, July 07, 2017

Listen to this Podcast

Recently, I spoke with Jamie Riddler of Creative Living with Jamie about all things art – how to make time, how to stay inspired, how to get published and more. I hope you listen to this conversation and find something that speaks directly to your heart!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Book Review: Perspective In Action

If you have ever tried drawing, you might have run into this problem when things don't seem right - something's off! And that one something can throw off an entire composition. That something is usually a distorted perspective. In Perspective In Action, author David Chelsea decodes the inner mechanics of perspective. 

Perspective basically means that objects close to us look bigger than those farther away. In the style of a graphic novel, the artist and author, David Chelsea, explains the various concepts of perspective starting with three-point perspective, two-point perspective and vanishing point. He includes interesting historical bits about the role of perspective in art in addition to tutoring the how-to's of perspective to the reader. He talks about the rules as well as breaking them in Anamorphosis.

A great resource for those who struggle with perspective!
*I got this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Card Tutorial: A Summery Floral Greeting!

Since I moved from Florida, I miss the year-round sunshine. But as the saying goes... bring your own sunshine! So, here's some sunshine for both you and me in the form of this summery floral greeting card using both positives and negatives of die-cuts!

I used products from Richard Garay to make this card. Let me list them here for you. Some are affiliate links.
Silver & Gold Collection - Marigold die set
Origami Love - Hey You Folds stamp/die set
Amaze Machine Berry Black True Color Fusion Ink
Whip Cream cardstock
Delightful Daisy cardstock
Golden Glow cardstock
Pixie Play cardstock
Rock Candy cardstock
Kiwi Slice cardstock
Watermelon Fusion cardstock Journey Glaze
Journey Pro Shears

And now let me walk you through the steps.

Diecut the Marigold out of Delightful Daisy and Golden Glow cardstock using Marigold flower die with the Amaze machine.
Be sure to save every piece of both diecuts as we will create an inlay design fitting in pieces from diecuts to create the flower for the card.

Repeat the previous step with Pixie Play and Kiwi Slice cardstock using the Marigold branch die and Amaze machine. Save all the pieces.

Trim Whip Cream cardstock to 8.5" x 5.5" and fold in half to make a 4.25" x 5.5" card.
Trim Rock Candy cardstock to 4" x 5.25" and attach it to the card base.
Cut the stem diecut in two parts with Journey Pro Shears. Using Journey Glaze, attach the flower and branch pieces to the card as shown.
Carefully fit in the negative pieces from the corresponding diecuts of the other color to create an inlaid look.
Cut a small piece of Watermelon Fusion cardstock to make the sentiment block.
Use the sentiment stamp 'Hey You' from the Hey You Folds stamp/die set with Berry Black True Color Fusion Ink to stamp the sentiment on the Watermelon Fusion cardstock block.
Attach the sentiment block to the card to finish.

I hope you enjoy! Happy Summer :)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Card Tutorial: A Colorful Card for the Grad!

Today the class of 2017 graduates high school in my oldest kid's school. A fresh batch of bright grads to embark on a new journey - such a bitter sweet moment. Time for them to fly, time for us to let go. I remember practically bawling at my girl's kindergarten graduation and boy oh boy, I'm not sure, how I'll be when she graduates high school in a few years!!! But, let's set those thoughts aside and celebrate those who did it and the parents who supported their not-so-long-ago-kindergarteners all the way. 

Such emotional moments call for all the colors of the rainbow and beyond! Let's get working on today's card, starting with a list of supplies. I used products from Richard Garay. Some are affiliate links.
RG Days Time Flies Stamp/Die Set
Amaze Machine
Berry Black True Color Fusion Ink
Cool Caribbean Silk Luster
Raw Gold Silk Luster
Whipped Cream cardstock
Journey Foam Squares
Coloring Pencils

And now let me walk you through the steps. 

Trim Whipped Cream cardstock to 8.5" x 5.5" and fold in half to make a 4.25" x 5.5" card.
Use ruler and pencil to draw the burst design. Fill in the slots with coloring pencils. It's really fun!
Stamp the wrist watch using Berry Black True Color Fusion Ink on Whipped Cream cardstock.
Using the corresponding die from Time Flies Stamp/Die set and Amaze machine, diecut the wrist watch.  

Use Coll Caribbean and Raw Gold Silk Lusters, color the die-cut wristwatch.
Splatter Gold Silk to the card.
Attach the wristwatch to the card with foam squares.
Write the sentiment around the diecut with pen to finish.

If you are the proud parent of a grad, I want to congratulate you too. YOU DID IT!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Book Review: Foundations of Drawing

While I don't regret being self-taught, I do sometimes wonder about what if I had gone to art school and how would it have influenced my creativity. So, I try to read about art as often as I can and that's why I was drawn to Al Gury's Foundations of Drawing. As the author states in his introduction: "The book takes the point of view that clear information on the history, materials, and techniques of drawing creates the ability to understand drawing, make choices, and chart one's development in drawing with a sense of confidence."

Included in this book are works of masters as well as students of the author, as young as first grader as he elaborates on the evolution and use of tools and techniques of the trade. There are 5 chapters - Essential History of Drawing, Essential Drawing Materials, Essential Drawing Skills (this one's my favorite!), Essential Aesthetics in Drawing and Essential Drawing Demonstrations.

And if you have ever wondered why is it so very hard to draw a straight line, you have to read this book!  

*I got this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Book Review: Colored Pencil Painting Portraits

"Painting with colored pencils brings the best of both worlds - painting and drawing. It produces the richness and saturation of the surface with colors, which is a signature trait of a painting, within a completely controllable process, which is the prerogative of a drawing." - Alyona Nickelsen, Colored Pencil Painting Portraits.

That girl in the above picture was created with colored pencils - can you believe it? And the artist shows you the steps to create realistic portraits like this with colored pencils. There's detailed description of not only how but also why the artist author uses the mediums that she does. For those who are turned off by nude portraits, the good news is every portrait in this book is clothed. I particularly love the appendix where the author lists a comparative analysis of blending properties of selected colored pencil brands so you can decide which one is the best choice for the project you are working on.

A must have for anyone who wants to learn more about colored pencils, blending techniques and creating realistic portraits!

*I got this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  

Art Journaling Class is LIVE on Creativebug TODAY!

How would you like to learn to add fluid vibrancy to your art journal pages with tea stain dyes? Not only that, in my Art Journaling: Mixed Media on Paper, you'll learn how to draw everyday objects in a simplified form, document your day or record an observation, create focal points, and finish with doodled details and dimensional elements. Whether you're new to art journaling or a seasoned mixed media artist, you’ll enjoy this playful and experimental way of approaching art

This online workshop is about 40 minutes in length and divided into the following segments:

  • Overview

  • Materials

  • Creating backgrounds with dye

  • Observational drawing and mark-making

  • Other examples of mixed media

  • Adding collage and other embellishments

Not a Creativebug member? Wanna try it out? Follow this link!

New members will get their 1st month of Creativebug + 1 class to keep forever for just $1. They'll also receive 30% off at Jo-Ann Fabric. 

When you sign up through the link below you'll receive a welcome email from Creativebug, then a second email with the coupon code to use either online or in-store at Jo-Ann Fabric.

How cool is that!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Video Tutorial: Card for Grads in Under 10 Minutes

Hi everyone! Today I have a challenge for you: create a card for a grad in under 10 minutes! If you need some inspiration to get you started, watch this video by clicking the play button below or follow this link.

Here's a list of the supplies I used for my card. Some are affiliate links.
RG Origami Love Stamp/Die Set - Shine Bright
Golden Glow True Color Fusion Ink

Berry Black True Color Fusion Ink
Amaze Machine
Whip Cream Cardstock
Cool Caribbean Silk Luster

Rose Chintz Silk Luster
Sparkle Silk Luster
Journey Foam Squares

Journey Pro shears

I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Book Review: Boss Bitch

..."we are always reminded that time flies. But guess what? You're the pilot, so let's fly..." - this is my favorite quote from Nicole Lapin's Boss Bitch! What an empowering statement! This book is like a 12-step road map to a more confident, savvy you where you are not afraid to own what comes with the territory.

With a fun conversational tone, the author demystifies several technical business and money concepts. It is not easy to be successful AND comfortable in a boss's role for many women. This book addresses the women who are learning to be the boss of their lives and at work, those who are currently in that role at work and also the women who aspire to be bosses some day. If you belong to any of these groups, I suggest you read this book too. No matter what stage of life or career you are at, you can take charge.

*I got this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Card Tutorial: Dress Up a Paper Doll

4th of July, U.S.A. Independence Day is less than a month away and there's glorious red, white and blue starting to adorn almost every corner around here. That has become the inspiration for today's card. So, here it is - a paper doll dressed up in patriotic colors. The best part? You can dress up paper dolls not only to create a card, but matching centerpiece, party decor, party favor... you name it! 

I used products from Richard Garay for this card. Here's the list of supplies for you to get started. Some are affiliate links.
Silk Lusters - Cool Caribbean
                    - Gold
                    - Rose Chintz
Whipped Cream Cardstock
Coloring pencils

Diecut the doll parts out of Whipped Cream cardstock using The Patriot die and Amaze machine.
Attach the parts together to make the doll. Color the doll as shown using color pencils.
Trim Whipped Cream cardstock to 8.5" x 5.5" and fold in half to make a 4.5" x 5.5" card.
Splatter Cool Caribbean And Raw Gold Silks to the card base.
Attach the patriot to the card with foam squares for a little dimension. 

Draw a base for the patriot to stand on. Use the brush from the Rose Chintz Silk bottle to color the base.
Write the sentiment with that same brush. You could use paint or marker for this step if you like.
While you are it, splatter a little Rose Chintz Silk to the card making sure not to splatter on the patriot.
And that's your finished card!

I hope you enjoyed! 

Monday, June 05, 2017

Book Review: Insight

More often than not, there's a gap between how we think we come across to other people and how we ACTUALLY do. Over time, that gap fills up with miscommunications, frustrations and stalemates! This happens to most of us. This happens to the best of us. 

How we are, what we think of ourselves and what others see may not always line up. If only we had a clue about how even our most well-meaning efforts are being received, we might avoid so many miscommunications, relationship difficulties and workplace impasses.

Tasha Eurich's Insight might help you close those gaps and balance your views of yourself and other people's view of you, making you a more effective communicator and more successful with people in general.

Written in an easy-to-understand language and full of real-life examples and applicable exercises, Insight can be really helpful for anyone who has ever been bewildered by the reactions of others during an interaction.    

*I got this book from Blogging for Books for this review. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Tutorial: Paper Dolls as Cupcake Toppers

Hi everyone! Paper dolls can be so versatile - you can use them as gift toppers, party decorations, party favors, party activities where kids can color and dress them up and even to add an extra touch of sweetness to your cupcakes. I have to say that even though I'm technically a grown-up person, I'm enjoying my paper dolls just as much as a kid! Let me show you how I designed this little cutie.

Some are affiliate links 
RG Media Venture Die - The Dancer 
Celebrattions Sweet Dreams Embellishments 
Amaze Machine
Whip Cream Cardstock
Acrylic Paints - Cool Pool, Pineapple Smoothie, Sweet Berry
Journey Glaze 
Other: Mini pompom, black pen, toothpick, tape

Start by die-cutting the paper doll using The Dancer die and Amaze Machine from Whip Cream cardstock.Assemble the doll with Journey Glaze.
Paint her body and dress with acrylic paints.
Add oomph with accessories like sequins and pompoms using Journey Glaze.

Add details to the doll with black pen. 
Create an arching banner for her to hold over her head out of Whip Cream cardstock. Attach to her hands with Journey Glaze.
Write the name of a party attendee with pen on the banner.
Attach a toothpick to her feet with tape.
Once all your party decor and food are set up, stick the doll (s) into place.

I hope you enjoyed today's tutorial and that it inspired you to play with paper dolls!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Gift Tutorial: Father's Day Canvas

The best gifts come from the heart. And it's even more wonderful if you can make it yourself! Hi everyone, Mou here with a tutorial to create a mixed media canvas for dad using stamps from the RG Days collection from Richard Garay. Let's start by looking at the complete list of supplies.

Time Flies Stamp/Die set
Raw Gold Silk Luster
RG Days Printed paper
Acrylic paints: Buttercream, Cool Pool, Oatmeal Cookie, Pineapple Smoothie

8x10 inches canvas
Gel medium
Paint brush
Old credit card
Texture paste


You can watch the video tutorial by clicking the play button below or by following this link.

I hope you enjoy!